Grading Caveats

Grading Issues with Common Border Cards and Adhesive Backs

The nature of the way Post cereal football cards were produced created certain cards that inherently had qualities about them that would lead to problems attaining a high grade from grading services. There are two basic grading issues with the product creation: common border cards and adhesive applied to the inside back of the box (reverse of the front of the card.)

Common border cards occurred on smaller size boxes that required all six cards to share a black border with at least two other cards on the panel. With no white space between the cards, it becomes extremely difficult to cut a card right down the middle of the black border line which is approximately 1/32 inch wide. The result was that six cards were printed only on common border panels.

The other issue that negatively affects cards is that Post applied adhesive on the inside back of the box in order to attach the liner bag so it would stay in place after opening. The adhesive was placed in different patterns depending on the product. Scans of the inside backs of each product are available under the Cereal/Boxes tab. Right or wrong, grading companies lower the grade of a card if it had adhesive applied to it, even though it happened during the manufacturing process. There are also several card numbers that all of the cards were printed on a common border and adhesive plagued product. For instance #171 Les Richter was printed on common border Bran Flakes 11 oz. boxes as well as Grape Nuts Flakes 12 oz. and Top 3 10 oz. products in a position on the panel that nearly always was laced with a fair amount of adhesive. Manufacturing machines sometimes don't function exactly as designed and so some cards that should have adhesive were spared from the spray. These are rare occurrences indeed.

Combine the effect of the adhesive on grading with common border cards and the result is great difficulty in obtaining a high grade. The following chart shows the cards in the 1962 Post cereal football set with grading issues, sorted by cards with only adhesive issues, cards with common border issues and cards with both of the problems.

1962 Post Cereal Football Cards With Grading Issues
Card No. Player Grading Issue Near Mint % (8) Mint % (9) Gem Mint % (10) Total % grades 8-10
97 Jimmy Johnson Adhesive 15.4% 3.8% 0.0% 19.2%
110 Angelo Coia Adhesive 14.3% 0.0% 0.0% 14.3%
196 Vince Promuto Adhesive 11.8% 5.9% 0.0% 17.6%
Adhesive totals 14.1% 2.8% 0.0% 16.9%
68 John Morrow Common border 7.7% 7.7% 0.0% 15.4%
80 Dee Mackey Common border 6.3% 0.0% 0.0% 6.3%
87 Bill Pellington Common border 36.4% 0.0% 0.0% 36.4%
99 Jerry Mertens Common border 0.0% 17.6% 0.0% 17.6%
162 Zeke Bratkowski Common border 0.0% 9.1% 0.0% 9.1%
195 John Paluck Common border 5.6% 5.6% 0.0% 11.1%
Common border totals 8.1% 7.0% 0.0% 15.1%
62 Galen Fiss Common border, adhesive 13.3% 6.7% 0.0% 20.0%
106 Doug Atkins Common border, adhesive 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
108 J. C. Caroline Common border, adhesive 15.8% 5.3% 0.0% 21.1%
128 Lou Michaels Common border, adhesive 23.1% 7.7% 0.0% 30.8%
144 Don Perkins Common border, adhesive 15.4% 15.4% 0.0% 30.8%
171 Les Richter Common border, adhesive 11.1% 5.6% 0.0% 16.7%
173 Frank Varrichione Common border, adhesive 0.0% 16.7% 8.3% 25.0%
178 Tommy Mason Common border, adhesive 22.7% 4.5% 0.0% 27.3%
180 Dave Middleton Common border, adhesive 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% 30.0%
184 Fran Tarkenton Common border, adhesive 9.3% 2.1% 0.0% 11.3%
Common border, adhesive totals 12.2% 5.2% 0.4% 17.8%
Averages All cards with grading issues 11.6% 5.2% 0.3% 17.1%
Rest of cards in set 19.3% 10.6% 1.5% 31.4%

Cards with only adhesive issues made up 16.9% of the cards graded 8-10, common border card totals were 15.1% and cards with either problem made up 17.8%. One could draw the conclusion that it is slightly easier to get a higher grade out of cards with an adhesive problem than it is to cut a common border card. Looking closer at the common border cards, the difficulty factor for getting a card graded Mint is very similar to that for a card graded Near-Mint to Mint. Adhesive, however, was punitive for Mint grades as only 2.8% of cards with an adhesive problem garnered the higher grade, while 14.1% were graded NM-MT. This is a five to one ratio. As would be expected, cards with a choice of using either a common border card or one with adhesive on the back graded high slightly more often than the cards with no choice.

This data was drawn in late April 2017 from the PSA population report. It is, of course, subject to change. The intent is to give collectors general information about which cards they may want to choose if grading is being considered.

The chart below is a listing of each card in the Post cereal football card promotion with the products on which the card appeared. Cells highlighted in red indicate the card will have common borders. Cells with a black background are cards on products with adhesive on the back. Cells in yellow are cards which often display adhesive but many times will be free of the substance.

1962 Post Cereal Football Grading Issues